Learn how the SSN validation works and how it has changed, and generate a random SSN to see the validation in action.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) changed the way Social Security Numbers (SSNs) are issued on June 25, 2011. This change is referred to as "randomization." The SSA developed this new method to help protect the integrity of the SSN. SSN Randomization will also extend the longevity of the nine-digit SSN nationwide.
The SSA began assigning the nine-digit SSN in 1936 for the purpose of tracking workers' earnings over the course of their lifetimes to pay benefits. Since its inception, the SSN has always been comprised of the three-digit area number, followed by the two-digit group number, and ending with the four-digit serial number. Since 1972, the SSA has issued Social Security cards centrally and the area number reflected the state, as determined by the ZIP code in the mailing address of the application.
There are approximately 420 million numbers available for assignment. However, the previous SSN assignment process limited the number of SSNs available for issuance to individuals by each state. Changing the assignment methodology extended the longevity of the nine digit SSN in all states.
The chart below shows the first 3 digits of the social security numbers assigned throughout the United States and its possessions. The same area, when shown more than once, means that certain numbers have been transferred from one State to another, or that an area has been divided for use among certain geographic locations.
SSN randomization affected the SSN assignment process in the following ways:
This table shows what SSN area numbers are associated to locations and groups around the country.
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